Sustainability strategy

The environmental footprint of meetings and conferences is gathering increasing attention world-wide [1 – 5].

INOGOV funds numerous research activities (e.g. meetings, visiting fellowships, spring schools) which involve significant amounts of travel that contribute, inter alia, to climate change. INOGOV has decided to support participants and meeting organisers in making environmentally sustainable choices where possible and in the context of local circumstances.

INOGOV recognises that while travel to and from locations will generate greenhouse gas emissions, and the running of an event consumes paper in printing and generates waste [1], there are changes that can be made by organisers and participants that can support a more sustainable approach.

INOGOV has already actively implemented some measures, including:

  • Ensuring that all Core Group meetings are held via skype;
  • Management Committee meetings are held back to back with other meetings to minimise travel;
  • Trialling a Travel Tracker at a meeting – the results of which are summarised in a blog;

It is now actively:

  • Encouraging local organisers to ‘green their meetings’. A green event is one designed, organised and implemented in a way that minimises negative environmental impacts.
  • Encouraging workshop participants to make more sustainable travel choices.
  • Sharing its experiences with the COST Office in Brussels through the Action reporting process, to inform the development of a COST-wide sustainability strategy.


[1] Green Meeting Guide 2009: Roll out the green carpet for your participants. UNEP DTIE & ICLEI (2009), pp72

[2] A clean, green science machine. Nature, (2015), 519, 261.

[3] A nearly carbon-neutral conference model: white paper/practical guide.

[4] Statements about climate researchers’ carbon footprints affect their credibility and the impact of their advice. Climatic Change (2016), 138, 325-338.

[5] ETH Podcast: results of a survey on business flights and video conferencing.

See here for article on obstacles to carbon neutrality in higher education, here for an article on carbon pricing on a higher education campus, and here for an article on a successful effort to divest from fossil fuels in higher education.